Reds seek Europa launchpad
Dirk Kuyt has urged Liverpool to take confidence from their opening Premier League game against Arsenal as they bid for a place in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Roy Hodgson's side host Turkish outfit Trabzonspor at Anfield on Thursday looking to secure a first-leg advantage in the qualifying round. Ten-man Liverpool were denied victory over Arsenal in their opening Premier League fixture on Sunday when goalkeeper Pepe Reina's late blunder handed Arsene Wenger's side a point in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
But Kuyt insists Liverpool are far from downbeat about the disappointment and have many positives to take from the result into the clash with Trabzonspor. Kuyt, still coming to terms with being a member of the Dutch side that lost the FIFA World Cup Final™ to Spain in South Africa, believes Liverpool have the confidence to secure a good result in the first leg.
"We have to keep going. It was disappointing after we had played so well for 45 minutes with ten men (against Arsenal). I thought the team did really well. We deserved the three points but things like that happen in football. The way we played and our overall team spirit was really good, so if we can keep doing the right things then I'm sure we will be fine."
Kuyt also pointed to Liverpool's previous encounters on Turkish soil as a warning of what they could face in the second leg. He added: We want to stay in the Europa League so we need a good result on Thursday. We know from our games against Galatasaray and Besiktas in the Champions League that it can be difficult in Turkey, so we need a good result in the first leg. We were really close to winning it (the Europa League) last season. We are all here to win trophies and if we could win it, it would be a massive trophy for all the lads."
Hodgson will be without the suspended Joe Cole, sent-off against Arsenal on Sunday, but could hand debuts to new signings Brad Jones and Christian Poulsen.
Meanwhile Javier Mascherano is also set to feature despite on-going speculation about his future. Lionel Messi has urged his fellow Argentine to leave Anfield and join him at Barcelona, but Hodgson insists he won't let Mascherano go without a fight and expects him to play alongside Poulsen.
Hodgson said: "I don't want to let Javier go and at the moment he has shown no signs of going. I believe Javier Mascherano is going to play for us and I believe Christian Poulsen is going to play for us. We can have both players. This is a big club and a club with a lot of games to play this year hopefully. Christian is a quality player and we want quality players here.
"He is a good passer. He will fit in nicely with the way we try to play. Liverpool have always been a passing team. There is going to be no change to the style, whether it's me or someone else who is the manager."